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A Step-By-Step Guide to Shooting Your First Product Photograph - Tuts+ Photography Tutorial

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  6/2/14 1:11 PMA Step-By-Step Guide to Shooting Your First Product Photograph - Tuts+ Photography TutorialPage 1 of 21 Tuts+ and Tuts+ Premium have now merged into one site. Read more ! ! JobsBlog Tutorials   Courses   eBooks   Create an Account or  Sign In Pricing Safari Power SaverClick to Start Flash Plug-in  Advertisement Photography   SeriesCategories   Search tutorials and articles... # LIGHTING  A Step-By-Step Guide toShooting Your FirstProduct Photograph by Jennifer Carrigan  5 Dec 2011 6 Comments Today, we'll be taking a walkthrough simple product shoot. This type of photography is in some demand on stock photography sites and is perfect for showcasing an item inorder to sell it on Ebay or Etsy. As reported our recent still life article, once you'vemastered this type of photography, it can be personally rewarding and pay very well.The most basic form of product photography is an object in front of a white or solid colored seamless background. This is often utilized in retail catalogs when they want to display their products without distractions. These are sometimes called cutoutsbecause it’s easy to cut out and insert into another image.Many photographers can successfully shoot product photographs at home with littletrouble. Ideally, you would have at least three or four lights to work with, but it  is possible to do it with just two. We’ll explore that in this tutorial.  You will need !  6/2/14 1:11 PMA Step-By-Step Guide to Shooting Your First Product Photograph - Tuts+ Photography TutorialPage 2 of 21  At least two good light sources, more the better A 18% gray card (optional) A clean, bright white poster paper or similar A light box (optional)Translucent paper – white tissue paper, tracing paper, wax paper, or whiteumbrellas A table or workspaceImage editing program such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Gimp Lights, Camera... Action For this tutorial, I use only a pair of flashes. While I could, as I describe below, uselamps or other light sources, I prefer my flashes because they are easy to repositionand are fairly powerful.If you don’t have flashes or speedlights, incandescent lightbulbs, florescent bulbs ortubes, whatever you have handy, are all suitable. If possible, purchase a number ofsame-brand, same wattage bulbs. The bulbs’ hues can vary from brand to brand, andwhile your eyes may not detect the slight di ! erence, your camera can. Lamps,especially the type with bendy arms, are great for this sort of product photography.There is another light option: daylight. Preferably a nice, overcast day. However,daylight’s intensity can be unpredictable, depending on the weather and the time of theday. Relying on daylight isn’t always feasible, and if you’re limited to shooting inevenings when it gets dark early. This is where artificial light comes in handy - it's aconsistent, steady light source that give you the confidence that the light levels will notchange from one moment to the next.Whichever light source you opt for, use multiples of the  same  light sources is because itcan be di cult to compensate for mixed lights. For example, florescent bulbs tend toemit green- or orange-tinted light. Most incandescents cast a yellowish hue. Andtungsten is orange.While it is possible to compensate for the mixed tint in-camera or in the post-processing, it is easier, especially if you’re just starting to explore this genre ofphotography, to use a consistent light source because it’s one less step to futz with.  6/2/14 1:11 PMA Step-By-Step Guide to Shooting Your First Product Photograph - Tuts+ Photography TutorialPage 3 of 21 Don't forget to use a manual white balance setting that's appropriate for your lightsource. Gray Card  A 18% gray card is very handy for fine-tuning the white balance, especially importantwhen you’re photographing something with a white background. Color casts from yourlights or even the light reflecting o !  your object will be apparent on the white backdrop.Some newer dSLRs have a customizable WB setting. If yours does, photograph thecard and it will help you determine the proper white balance. For further details on how,check your camera’s manual.If your camera does not have customizable WB setting, you can still use this card todetermine and alter the white balance in post-processing.Your camera doesn’t have this custom feature or you lack a 18% gray card? Afteryou’ve set your table up, set the WB to whichever light mode you’re using, take a fewphotographs of the white poster paper and fine-tune the WB the best you can. The Set-up There are a number of di ! erent ways you can set up your table. You can purchase oneor make your own DIY lightbox.  6/2/14 1:11 PMA Step-By-Step Guide to Shooting Your First Product Photograph - Tuts+ Photography TutorialPage 4 of 21 Photo by D'Arcy NormanOr go the lazy route and tape your paper poster up to a wall.

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